Karla Hernandez-Mats Did Not Say Cubans ‘Forced’ to Mourn Castro, Walks Back 2016 Tweet: ‘I Proudly Celebrated Fidel’s Death’

September 7, 2022 Updated 8:55 AM ET

Karla Hernandez-Mats (left), Fidel Castro (right, Marcelo Montecino).
Karla Hernandez-Mats (left), Fidel Castro (right, Marcelo Montecino).

MIAMI (FLV) – Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s running mate, Karla Hernandez-Mats, addressed a tweet that drew widespread criticism saying “many in Cuba mourn #FidelCastro.”

Nearly two weeks after Florida’s Voice first reported her initial tweet before Crist officially announced, Hernandez-Mats began to take action on the remarks.

“A political figure dies at 90. Most in Miami rejoice, many in Cuba mourn #FidelCastro,” the 2016 tweet says.

First, she deleted the tweet on Sep. 5 earlier in the day, more than a week after initial reports. Just hours later, Crist’s running mate compared Gov. Ron DeSantis to Castro in a tweet that afternoon: “Like Castro, Ron is moving our state closer to authoritarian rule. Charlie and I will stop this wannabe dictator.”

The day after – Sep. 6 – Hernandez-Mats doubled down on the now-deleted tweet, arguing she was referring to Cubans being “forced to mourn the death of a tyrant.” Her original remarks did not say Cubans were “forced” to mourn Castro.

“I proudly celebrated Fidel’s death, banging on pots and pans in the streets of Hialeah with my neighbors,” she said.

In 2016, the Associated Press reported “Cubans forced to undergo 9 days of mourning for Castro”:

Cubans can show their respects for Castro beginning at 9 a.m. Monday at the Havana memorial to national hero Jose Marti, a poet and leader of Cuba’s 19th century fight for independence from Spain. Mourners will be able to pay their respects until 10 p.m. Monday and again on Tuesday at the memorial in the Plaza of the Revolution as well as specially designated sites across the country.

Associated Press

They report that Cubans “will be called to a demonstration at 7 p.m.” NBC Miami reports that some Cubans were “practically forced” to board buses to attend the memorial.

Reuters reports that there was also passionate mourning of Castro’s death, with “Flag-waving Cuban students [breaking] into a mass chant of ‘I am Fidel.'”

“We weren’t just poor. We were wretched,” one Cuban father told Reuters. “Then came Fidel and the revolution. He gave me my humanity. I owe him everything.”

The DeSantis campaign pounced on Hernandez-Mats’ walking back of the original tweet.

Christina Pushaw, Rapid Response Director for the DeSantis campaign, said Hernandez-Mats’ tweet is a “poor attempt at gaslighting.”

“You didn’t say Cubans were ‘FORCED to mourn the death of a tyrant.’ You said that Cubans ‘mourned’ ‘a political figure’. You can try to spin it however you want 6 years later, but nobody is buying it. You’re sorry you got caught,” she said. “She should’ve owned up to it & apologized. She isn’t Cuban; she could’ve claimed she was just ignorant of the situation there. People might forgive her. But now she’s doubling down & spinning to defend her tweet – only makes it worse!”

“Pathetic.”

“If you stand by your tweet about Cubans mourning Castro, and you’re so proud of it now… then why did you delete it yesterday?” the DeSantis War Room said.

Hernandez-Mats also cited a debunked “Cuban Relocation Plan”: “With [DeSantis’] new Cuban Relocation Plan #CRP, it’s clear as day Ron DeSantis and his Administration do not understand the struggles of our Hispanic communities. Busing our Cuban neighbors to Delaware isn’t a plan, it’s just another attack on freedom.”

“He’s only planning to bus illegal aliens to Delaware. Most Cubans aren’t illegals; they’re either refugees or US citizens. And what do you think of your president Biden deporting Cubans back to Cuba?” Pushaw said.

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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